Fifteen years ago, I came up with an idea for a whiz-bang bow square. I sent my drawings off to one of those invention/patent companies. They wanted $500 to do a patent search, then more if it cleared and continued down the pipeline. That was way out of my realm as a teenager, so my idea ended there. LOL, I still think it's pretty swift and don't think there's anything like it...
I don't know if this is true or not but I've heard if you contact your local college( university) busness class that they sometimes will do a patent search and follow up as a project or coarse ? And I heard all they charge is the min. required to do it. Hope this helps.
Patents are only as good as your wallet is deep. In other words, if you are not wealthy enough to pursue infringements, anyone, and every one may steal your ideas. If you wish to command them to cease and desist, it will cost you dearly for every infringement challenged.
Better yet is a patent-pending, or trademark, or even a copyright suitable to the unit.
Contact a good patent attorney, but as Jim C notes, they don't work for 'nuthin.
maybe you should consider taking your idea to a company that makes similar items. What you would need though is a "Non Discolsure Agreement". That agreement will permit them to talk to you without them being able to "steal" your item or intellectual property. But again, if there does become an infringement you will still need a lawyer. This just might save you some money right out of the gates. You can find cample non-discolsure agreements at the library or on the internet.
Depends on your idea and how complex it is. You can file for a patent fairly cheaply...less than $1000. The question you have to ask is "Can I sufficiently describe the invention and outline it completely in the claims in order to protect from infringement without the help of an attorney?" I will tell you upfront the answer is most likely NO. I am the inventor of a patent (chemistry related) and while I will admit chemistry related patents are very complex, I spent a great deal of time with the attorneys making sure it was right. When it issued, total costs approached $30,000.
There are a few things that can be done up front to save you some money. First, I can help you do an initial patent search to make sure someone else hasn't beat you to the punch. A quick and dirty search with an attorney will cost you $500. If at that point it looks good you can go to an attorney and obtain an extensive search which will be around $1500, but will be conclusive.
Shooter Mike provides a good option if you are open to sharing profits. If your idea is a good one, there will be a company prepared to pay the costs for a patent and production while providing you a royalty. If you want to go that route, send me an email. I have several non-disclosure agreements and can customize one for your purpose.
One thing to keep in mind...the cost to get a patent is only a fraction of the end cost. It is 10 times as expensive to defend your patent than it is to get it. If your product is successful there will be 5 "me too" companies trying to copy you as soon as you start making money at it.
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